Murder victim had protection order

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 16:01 28/11/2013

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Police have named Sarwan Lata Singh as the 38-year-old woman found dead at a Wellington home in the suburb of Woodridge early Tuesday.

A man has been charged with her murder - and with breaching a protection order meant to keep him away from her.

The man appeared in Wellington District Court yesterday on charges including murder, aggravated burglary of Singh's home, and breaching a protection order.

Judge Phil Moran remanded him to secure psychiatric care for a report to determine his fitness to plead and instruct a lawyer. His name was suppressed.

Police said he and his alleged victim knew each other. They have not described the nature of their relationship.

Police went to her home in Kentwood Drive after a call to emergency services about 1.17am on Tuesday.

They found her dead and the man injured.

Police have confirmed that Singh had taken out a protection order against the accused.

The past year has seen high-profile cases of men being convicted of murder after breaching protection orders taken out by their victims.

In July 2010, police gained new powers to issue temporary protection orders, barring anyone deemed to represent a threat from a complainant's property for up to five days.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said yesterday she was saddened that, despite those efforts, women still died with protection orders in place.

It was all the more tragic that the Wellington woman's death happened just one day after White Ribbon Day, which campaigns for an end to violence against women and children.

"It is a very sad circumstance for her family and the significance in this case is that it occurred just the next day after we were asking men to respect women and stop violence against them," she said.

"We have had a pretty rough patch in the last few months. We're starting in earlier than usual, it seems, with an increase in violence towards women and children which often is increasing over the Christmas period."

In June, Hawke's Bay mother of two Gail Bower was murdered by ex-partner Raymond Shane Christison, despite having installed a panic alarm and taken out a protection order to try to keep herself safe from him.

Christison stabbed her and slit her throat. Last month he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder.

Also last month, Ernest Smith was sentenced to serve at least 17 years of a life term for murdering his ex-partner.

It was suggested he was angry at the limits Amanda Taufale - who did volunteer work for a women's refuge - had put on his access to her and their son in the wake of domestic violence and the end of their relationship last year.

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He was allowed to go to her house only by arrangement and when another family member was present.

In November 2012, he hid for hours in the ceiling space of the Tawa home she shared with her two children.

After she and the children had gone to sleep, he lowered himself into the hallway of the house and slashed and stabbed her before slitting her throat with a craft knife.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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